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Fancy Holiday Appetizer Series. Part I. Quince Paste

As some of you may know, I discovered quinces in my local grocery store this year. I love their fragrant fruity flavor that is similar to a pear-apple cross. When I told my mom I had bought some quinces she immediately asked me to make quince paste. I had never heard of quince paste before, but it is quite popular in Australia. It’s traditionally served with Manchego cheese on a cracker.

This blog will be the first in a series on holiday appetizer platters. Quince paste is unique, yet easy to make, and will impress all your guests with it’s autumn texture and flavor combination.

First you fill a large pot with about 5 cups of water. Add in the lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon. Add to the water two slices of the lemon peel, each about 2 inches by 1/2 inch in size.

Peel, core and roughly chop the quinces. Place them immediately in the lemon water to prevent them from turning brown. Save the quince peels and tie them into a bundle using cheesecloth and place it in the pot too.

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Boil for approximately 30 minutes or until the quinces are fork tender. Drain. Remove the bag of quince peels and discard.

Puree the quinces in a blender or food processor. Measure the puree. Measure out the same amount of sugar (for example, if you have 5 cups of puree, measure out 5 cups of sugar).

Pour the puree back into the pot and place on medium heat. Stir in the sugar slowly. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to low-medium. Allow it to cook for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. It should turn a rose-orange color. If the puree is not changing color, turn up the heat slightly.

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Cook until the color changes and the puree is so thick that it sticks to your wooden spoon.

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Pour the puree into a parchment lined, 9X13 pan, smooth out the top with a spatula and allow to cool.

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Preheat your oven to 175 degrees.

Bake the cooled puree for 3 hours. Allow to cool overnight. It should be the consistency of gummy bears. If it is still too soft, return it to the oven for another hour and recheck.

Slices into 1 1/2 inch squares and store in a container in a cool and dry place.

Serve with Manchego cheese and crackers. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for the next post of this holiday platter series.

Quince Paste
Ingredients
  • 4 lbs quinces
  • 1 lemon
  • 5-6 cups sugar
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, pour 4-5 cups of water. Add in the juice from 1/2 lemon and two pieces lemon peel approx. 2 inches by 1/2 inch each.

  2. Peel, core and roughly chop the quinces. Place them immediately into the lemon water to prevent them from turning brown. Save the peels.

  3. Tie the peels in cheesecloth and place in the pot with the chopped quinces.

  4. Boil until fork tender, approx. 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth and quince peels. Discard. 

  5. Drain the water from the quinces and puree in either a blender or food processor.

  6. Measure the quince puree. You will need an equal amount of sugar. (If you have 5 cups of puree, you will need 5 cups of sugar).

  7. Pour the puree back into the pot and heat on medium. Add the sugar slowly while stirring.

  8. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn the heat down to low-medium and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. The color should deepen into a rose-orange. If the color doesn't change, turn up the heat slightly.

  9. Once the paste has changed color and thickened to the point that it stick to your wooden spoon, pour it into a parchment lined 9X13 pan. Smooth out the top with a spatula. Allow to cool.

  10. Bake at 175 degrees for three hours and then cool overnight. It should be the consistency of gummy bears. If it is too soft, return it to the oven for another hour.

  11. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares. Serve with manchego cheese and crackers.

 

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